You’d be forgiven for thinking that being disqualified from the US Open - after hitting a line judge - would be the low point of Novak Djokovic’s year.
However, given the 2020 he’s had so far, it is par for the course.
Despite being on a 26-game win streak and going into the US Open as heavy favourite for the victory, the world number one was unable to add to his growing list of Grand Slam triumphs. Instead, his disqualification from the tournament is just the icing on the cake of lows in a dismal 2020 for the Serbian.
The player first made the headlines this year after expressing his anti-vaccination views on a Facebook livestream. The player said he would face a tough decision if vaccines became mandatory in order to compete in professional tennis in the future. Djokovic was forced to defend and clarify his statements after they received widespread criticism.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Djokovic made the controversial decision to host an Eastern European tennis tournament in Serbia. This idea was heavily criticised by pundits and fellow players, with Dan Evans calling it a “poor example to set” and Nick Kyrgios branding the decision to host a tournament “boneheaded."
You know it’s a really bad move when a player who was fined $3,000 for breaking his racket last year criticises your decision making.
Despite the pandemic, Djokovic went ahead with the tournament with no social distancing in place and crowded stadiums. In a shocking post, which came as a surprise to no one, Djokovic, his wife, and several other players and coaches on the tour all tested positive for COVID-19.
To add to the stupidity, a video surfaced of Djokovic and several other players dancing in a crowded night club during the tournament, all while most of the world were applying hand sanitiser every five minutes and hadn’t had a haircut in three months.
In a year of low points for the player, even his nightclub limbo was a disappointment.
Later in the year, the player resigned as president of the players council of the Association of Tennis professionals (ATP), the governing body of the men’s professional tour. After resigning, the Serbian formed the incredibly originally named Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA); aimed at giving more power to players than the ATP, which only has three player representatives on the board.
However, despite many players joining the new union, top players Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer remained members of the ATP, saying this was “a time for unity in the sport, not for separation."
Andy Murray will also not be joining as he believes the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) should also be involved in the movement.
Despite attracting over 60 members, it remains to be seen if the Serbian’s breakaway group will survive.
Djokovic is undoubtedly one of the greatest tennis players of his generation, if not all time. Despite this, 2020 has been a miserable year for the player both on and off the court and fans of the sport will hope that Novak can return to his brilliant best soon.
- New angle shows how hard Djokovic hit line judge
- Djokovic's 2016 press conference has gone viral
- Djokovic's reaction to US Open disqualification